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How to AVOID bootleg sites?


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37 replies to this topic

#1 of 38 OFFLINE   Elena S

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Posted January 06 2007 - 04:09 PM

I know there aren't supposed to be any threads about bootleg sites on here, but I was wondering...how do we know which sites are real and which ones aren't?

My husband ordered a boxed set for me for Christmas from a site he thought was reputable...only to discover that the disks were homemade after they arrived. The packaging looks legit...but the disks themselves are very generic-looking. My husband is excited that he could get these for me but to tell you the truth, when I opened them and saw they weren't legit I was horrified. How is an unsuspecting customer supposed to recognize a bootleg site?

#2 of 38 OFFLINE   RickER

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Posted January 06 2007 - 04:23 PM

If it is something you cant find on another site like Amazon, or if the price is usually $100 for a season, and you found a great deal for ALL the seaons of a show for the same or less...its a bootleg.
I only shop online at places like Amazon, or Deep Discount, and i only buy new. Never got a bootleg ever.

#3 of 38 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 06 2007 - 04:40 PM

As the saying goes, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't." A site that is selling boxed sets at a regular price (not counting sales, buy 1 get 1 free promotions, etc.) half what others are charging, you have to aske yourself why. Not to mention how? How can they afford to sell the sets that cheaply if they're paying the same wholesale price as everyone else?

Also check the descriptions and other text on the site. Everybody makes mistakes in spelling and grammar, but a site that is written in consitently sub-standard English should raise a red flag. Especially when the mistakes aren't the kind that native speakers tend to make, but suggest someone whose first language isn't English.

Elaborate and repeated claims that the discs are legal and excuses for why the packaging may be different from what you're used to seeing are another tip-off. Legitimate sites don't need to tell you how legitimate they are, and the product they ship is in the manufacturer's packaging.

Finally, if they're offering items that can't be bought elsewhere - R1 TV DVD sets for shows or seasons of shows that have never been released in R1 you can be pretty sure that they're pirates. (That's why it is a good idea when shopping at a new site to check titles other than the one you were looking for. Check shows you're familiar with and see if unreleased seasons are offered on the site. If they are, run like crazy. Posted Image)

Those are the basic, in any case.

Regards,

Joe

#4 of 38 OFFLINE   Tory

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Posted January 07 2007 - 03:36 AM

I've looked at some of those sites and some of them admit to being bootlegs somewhere on the site, sometimes mentioning things like from private collection. Some seem to take moral high ground saying they will not sell homemade titles of series commercially available but still sell titles like Time Tunnel and the TV version of Planet of the Apes which are commercially available but not commonly found at Wal-Mart.

Stick to stores with good reps, or at least decent reps. You probably know about Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, Barnes & Noble, FYE and can trust online places like amazon, deepdiscountdvd, dvdplanet, dvdempire, bestprices, overstock, buy, and newegg among others. If you are looking for something not commonly available in your region amazon is probably the most recognizable shop with online stores for Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Japan and China, links found at the bottom of their site.
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#5 of 38 OFFLINE   David Levine

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Posted January 07 2007 - 03:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickER
If it is something you cant find on another site like Amazon, or if the price is usually $100 for a season, and you found a great deal for ALL the seaons of a show for the same or less...its a bootleg.
I only shop online at places like Amazon, or Deep Discount, and i only buy new. Never got a bootleg ever.

You have to be careful with Amazon, because not everything they sell is directly through them. They often just act as a "middle man". For example, you can buy the complete series of "Silverhawks" on Amazon, but it's very much a bootleg.

I'd say Gord and Dave at www.tvshowsondvd.com have the most complete and up-to-date listings of what is available. Just go to their site and search for the show. It'll tell you what is available - and what is currently scheduled for upcoming release.

#6 of 38 OFFLINE   Elena S

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Posted January 07 2007 - 06:20 AM

What's bad is my husband says he paid "regular price" for these DVDs -- in other words, the same amount he would have paid elsewhere. It's a series that's currently only available in region 2, so his choices as to where he purchased were limited. He tried to get them thru Amazon UK first, but they were out of stock, so he found this other place, which apparently did a very good job of conning him into believing they were legit. Sad.

#7 of 38 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted January 07 2007 - 06:26 AM

Buying from a Bootleg site is as bad as buying from a Drug Dealer, and the money you give them is being used to fund the very same thing, TERRORISM!Posted Image

Just some food for thought.

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#8 of 38 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 07 2007 - 06:36 AM

Quote:
You have to be careful with Amazon, because not everything they sell is directly through them. They often just act as a "middle man".

This is true, but Amazon always clearly indicates when you are dealing with a third-party vendor selling through their site, and they give you contact information (including the website where applicable.) I recently found an elusive computer item on Amazon, which was sold through, but not by them. As I usually do in these cases, I read the feedback and then also went to the vendor's site to check them out. I found the thing I was buying on sale at the vendor's site for $10 less than the Amazon price, so I opened an account and bought it from them. Posted Image

Quote:
What's bad is my husband says he paid "regular price" for these DVDs

Oh, that is a drag.

But anyone who is mostly looking for a good price should try DVD Price Search (or R1 releases) and DVD Price Check (R2) These will scan legit sites for the best current price on the title you're looking for, and give you a display including the shipping costs, for a real apples to apples comparison.

Regards,

Joe

#9 of 38 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted January 07 2007 - 06:45 AM

This thread is informative. I hope it's not locked/deleted outright, because it does no good to just ignore this issue. It's not about willingly buying them, but looking to steer clear of them and I hope the mods understand that with this specific thread, which is different than the other ones that have appeared here but were deleted.

#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted January 07 2007 - 06:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph DeMartino
Everybody makes mistakes in spelling and grammar, but a site that is written in consitently sub-standard English should raise a red flag.


For example, "consitently" ?

Posted Image

#11 of 38 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 07 2007 - 06:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
For example, "consitently" ?

Posted Image

See that kids? Nicholas was paying attention and spotted the error I'd planted in that post. Posted Image

(That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Posted Image)

Joe

#12 of 38 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted January 07 2007 - 07:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
This thread is informative. I hope it's not locked/deleted outright, because it does no good to just ignore this issue. It's not about willingly buying them, but looking to steer clear of them and I hope the mods understand that with this specific thread, which is different than the other ones that have appeared here but were deleted.

I agree. I think this thread will help to inform those that aren't sure how to determine what's a legit TV/DVD release and what's not, although I'd guess that most members here know where to check for the legal releases. I know, from being a member of another forum, that there's more out there than we may realize here at HTF that don't know much about this issue and aren't readily able to identify a bootleg DVD release vs the legal one[s].

An example that I hear about frequently are the 2 "Bionic" 70's series, 6M$M & Bionic Woman. As we know at HTF there isn't (yet) a legal DVD release for these serie's in Region 1 (USA/Ca). From reading posts at another forum, some here may be surprised at the number of 'net'ers that honestly don't know much about the TV/DVD industry and are targets for misinformation and purchase of these bootleg sets.

For any newer members, anther site to verify for legal Region-1 releases is TSoD, (tvshowsondvd.com) http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/

- Jeff "I got bit once myself on a bootleg set in my early 'net days" W.

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#13 of 38 OFFLINE   Gord Lacey

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Posted January 07 2007 - 07:48 AM

Google needs to implement some sort of "Look into these guys" feature for the people that they take advertising from. Pirates use AdSense to promote their s**t, and they're liking raking in the bucks from these pirated sets. I've even seen bootleg ads show up on HTF, and I recently removed the "site search" feature on TVShowsOnDVD.com after I received emails from people who said they found links on my site and assumed it was legit because of that.

I've also been speaking to someone at Google about the issue. I shared a power outlet in the Vegas airport with someone who had just come from an interview at Google. He got the job, and has been very helpful in passing information to the appropriate people there. Hopefully we can cut off the major advertising source of these guys. It would be even better if Google would turn over information on them, but I doubt that'll happen.

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#14 of 38 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 07 2007 - 08:01 AM

Quote:
It would be even better if Google would turn over information on them, but I doubt that'll happen.

Right. It isn't like these guys are political dissidents living under a repressive regime. Them Google will turn in to the authorities all day long. But crooks who write them checks? Turn them over to law enforcement? Not a chance. Posted Image

Regards,

Joe

#15 of 38 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted January 07 2007 - 10:37 AM

There ARE some legitimate releases available only via mail order from websites of the companies that put them out, but aren't available in any stores.
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#16 of 38 OFFLINE   David Levine

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Posted January 07 2007 - 11:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Skeen
There ARE some legitimate releases available only via mail order from websites of the companies that put them out, but aren't available in any stores.

That's true, but I'm also pretty sure Gord and Dave list all of those as well.

#17 of 38 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 07 2007 - 11:33 AM

Quote:
There ARE some legitimate releases available only via mail order from websites of the companies that put them out, but aren't available in any stores.

Or from one or two specialty retailers. But since a Google or other search will only return these sites as sources for the discs, and the nature of the sites is obvious (especially where the producer is selling the product directly) I think these are less of a problem.

To cite two examples I happen to be familiar with, in the U.S. a couple of series originally produced for the BBC and which aired here on PBS have never been been given wide commercial release. The Ascent of Man, which in the UK can be bought from Amazon.co.uk for around 30 pounds, can only be purchased in R1 from a dealer* in academic titles for the "sale" price of $150. (Marked down from the original $300.) In fairness, the price does include a public performance license that makes it perfectly OK to repeatedly show the series to giant lecuture halls full of students. Posted Image (* It is sold on two websites with two different names, but the discs are identical and the street address and phone numbers for both sites are the same. It seems likely that two academic publishers merged and joined their catalogs, but kept to two sites to avoid confusing their existing customers.)

Free to Choose, the Milton and Rose Friedman series on economics, apparently left the home video rights in the hands of the producer and not the network (or else they were contracted for a set period and reverted to the Friedmans) for it is only available on DVD from the Friedman's foundation.

In both cases I think it was clear for a variety of reasons that the sites weren't dealing in bootlegs.

Regards,

Joe

#18 of 38 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted January 07 2007 - 12:13 PM

As I type this, the google add on HTF is advertising a bootleg site for TV shows. My personal rule is to never, ever click on a google ad. I do independent research about a product I'm considering buying online.

One giveaway on these sites is a disclaimer "all products believed to be in the public domain". When I see that, chances are this is a bootlegger trying to cover his tracks.

What's frustrating is that there are a couple really big outfits that sell most of these products. The studios could issue a cease and desist order and shut them down. Sure, they'll re-open under a new URL, but if the bootleggers get hassled enough they'll either give up or find their profits diminished.
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#19 of 38 OFFLINE   David Levine

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Posted January 07 2007 - 12:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve...O
What's frustrating is that there are a couple really big outfits that sell most of these products. The studios could issue a cease and desist order and shut them down. Sure, they'll re-open under a new URL, but if the bootleggers get hassled enough they'll either give up or find their profits diminished.

And a lot of the companies are registered overseas, so it's very difficult to shut them down. We've tried it in the past (like when we first put out He-Man) and it's probably more trouble than it's worth.

#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Tory

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Posted January 07 2007 - 12:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Skeen
There ARE some legitimate releases available only via mail order from websites of the companies that put them out, but aren't available in any stores.

Some like these include Get Smart from Time-Life, and that one release of the Bill Dana Show mentioned on the Get Smart DVD billdanaondvd.com,Donny Osmond's website www.donny.com for the Best of Donny & Marie, Justin Wilson's estate's website at www.justinwilson.com, Roy Rogers Estate at royrogers.com, and the website of Bill Jackson for Gigglesnort Hotel. There are more of these, I remember reading in a few other threads about a couple of severely overpriced legit western tv series available under similar circumstances.


There are also a number of legit companies that make and sell PD DVDs that can be found at most of those popular online stores but might not be listed at tvshowsondvd.
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